Originally Posted by Wes Bourne
*DWF, I edited your post above and replaced outsole where you had written insole. I think that's what you meant to write. I'll add that a RTW shoe with concealed stitching is not necessarily more durable than one with stitched aloft soles. A good example of this is Tricker's; by their own admission, the channel is cut rather shallow on their soles and it doesn't take long for the stitches to become visible on their channelled soles, once you've worn through the flap. On the other hand, I have shoes with stitched aloft soles where the stitching, while visible, is buried several mm deep into the sole (one-third to one-half the thickness of the outsole), such that it takes quite some wear before the stitches become abraded. Sure, a flap would offer some extra protection, but how much? The question is how much more durable is a sole with concealed stitching vs. one with stitched aloft soles if you take away all other factors, i.e., that the channel is cut at the same depth for both. Fwiw, I've worn down soles past the actual stitching and not had them fall apart. Aren't the multiple layers of outsole leather glued on top of each other prior to stitching?
Thank you very much for the editing...I'm such a poor typist that I sometimes spend more time editing than commenting and when I'm in a hurry I make mistakes that I don't have time to clean up. I have a student currently and my time is not my own. Technically one could say that grooved outseams are not really "stitching aloft." But, admittedly, this is a better solution than leaving the stitches completely exposed and proud on the surface of the outsole. But in the end, it is still only a compromise--a sop to those who cavil endlessly about quality and durability and value.
Bottom line, the threads are still exposed to dirt, grit oils and dirty water...immediately
. A grooved outseam will wear faster than a properly channeled (even machine channeled) outsole. Even a vertical channel is somewhat exposed, however, esp. when compared to a properly side channeled outsole. Why? Because the edge of the side channeled outsole is not only glued shut, it is heat burnished to drive waxes into the fibers of the outsole...so it is double sealed. Questions and observations such as yours are useful as they engage a certain critical facility that, in turn, promotes (or tends to promote) objectivity. A previous poster asked why don't all companies channel the outsole if it costs nothing? But that's asking the wrong question. The real question is why do bespoke makers...who are the torch-bearers of the centuries old traditions, tradition that arose and persisted through .countless makers and years of evolution...why do bespoke makers insist on channeling? It reminds me of something I read recently...(something or other Modisett)...let's see if I can summarize: It wasn't all that long ago that the word "discriminate" referred to the ability to bring a certain intellectual acuity to decisions and choices. Especially choices that affected survivability, prosperity, even personal comfort. To be "discriminating" was a mark of distinction and was high praise indeed. Today, in an atmosphere of intransigent political correctness, the word "discriminate" has not only lost its original meaning, it has become so imbued with negative connotations that even the act of choosing is suspect. Discrimination is a social sin and to a very real extent, even recognizing a hierarchy of "good, better, best" is considered elitist and "disrespectful. " Under such a regime, it is inevitable that even objective standards of quality come to be devalued or dismissed--iIf you think about it, it is almost a predetermined progression. When it becomes "disrespectful" to point out that certain processes, certain techniques, and certain outcomes are superior to other outcomes, etc....especially when logic and reasons for such assessments are provided and detailed...then the whole concept of quality becomes nearly incomprehensible if not ludicrous. And what is "style" if not recognizing quality and hierarchies of quality?